Iran hangs extremist accused of murdering Shia clerics
Tehran (AFP) – Iran on Monday hanged a Sunni extremist who was sentenced to death for killing two Shiite clerics and wounding another in early April, a court said.
A 21-year-old national of Uzbek descent carried out the April 5 stabbing attack on the Imam Reza shrine, which honors one of Shia Islam’s most revered figures.
The killings took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when large crowds of worshipers had gathered at the shrine in Iran’s second-largest city, Mashhad.
“Abdolatif Moradi’s death sentence was carried out by hanging this morning, in the presence of a group of citizens and officials from Vakilabad prison in Mashhad,” provincial judiciary chief Gholamali Sadeghi said. by the website of the judiciary Mizan Online.
The assailant “was accused of moharebeh (“war against God”, in Persian) using a weapon to terrorize the population in the sanctuary and even outside it”, Sadeghi added.
The attacker stabbed one of the victims 20 times, Tasnim news agency reported earlier.
On June 7, the court announced Moradi’s death sentence, adding that his lawyer had appealed to the Supreme Court.
According to local media, Moradi entered Iran illegally a year earlier from Pakistan and settled in Mashhad, the country’s main holy city.
Iranian leaders blamed “takfiri elements” for the attack. The term takfiri in Iran and several other countries refers to radical Sunni Islamist groups.
One of the clerics, Mohammad Aslani, died instantly while the death of the second, Sadegh Darai, was announced two days later.
The attack came days after two Sunni clerics were shot dead outside a seminary in the northern Iranian town of Gonbad-e Kavus.
The three suspects in this case, also Sunnis, were arrested at the end of April but would have “no connection with terrorist groups”, state media reported at the time.
Sunnis represent between 5 and 10% of Iran’s predominantly Shiite population of 83 million.
Last year Iran recorded its highest annual total of executions in four years, rights group Amnesty International said last month.
In an annual report, he said Iran executed at least 314 people in 2021, compared to 246 in 2020, largely because of drug-related cases.
© 2022 AFP